One of the most interesting and infuriating things about faith is that we don’t always we get what we ask for.
Take the lame man in Acts 3, for example. He was begging for money, and he expected Peter and John to give him some of what he asked for. Certainly gold or silver would have been beneficial for the man; it wouldn’t have been a sin to give him any money. He would’ve probably used it to buy food, drink, or clothing—the necessities for survival. Peter didn’t choose not to give the lame man money because it would’ve been bad for the man—he chose not to give him money because he wanted him to have something better. After all, money only lasts for so long, but the ability to walk, leap, and dance lasts for a lifetime.
Likewise we often pray to God and ask him for things—things like good grades, new toys (be it a car, a TV, or an action figure), health, a bigger salary, or lasting relationships. Often I feel that we think that God will grant us our requests as long as those prayers aren’t harmful or sinful, but that’s not always the case. These things may not necessarily be bad for us, and in some cases they may really be beneficial—a bigger salary, for example, could mean more money to support not just a family but also to support a family. The fact still remains, though, that God may want us to hold out for something better.
It’s hard to comprehend the big picture, but we have to trust and believe that God keeps both the big picture and our best interests in mind when he listens to our prayers. It’s not that He’s a stingy God, or that He doesn’t listen—it’s just that He answers in unexpected ways. Usually we can’t expect or know what He’ll choose to give—the lame man from this passage certainly didn’t expect to receive a healing miracle beyond his wildest dreams—and likewise when we pray we often cannot comprehend the real beauty of what God will choose to answer our prayers with. We just have to trust that even if we don’t immediately understand, God has chosen to give us something truly better for us than what we’d even dream of asking for.